Friday, August 21, 2009


Do you usually go to see a movie for the premise or for the movie star in it? Think about it.

I think for most people it's both. When I see previews in theaters, I usually know right away if I'll go see that movie -- sometimes it's simply seeing a trusted face back on the screen like Jane Fonda (in "Monster-in-Law") or Meryl Streep in "Julie/Julia" or Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt". The clips are so enticing or the premise just grabs a hold of you -- a subway hijacked ("The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3), a boss marries her assistant to stay in the country ("The Proposal"), and so on.

According to today's New York Times, A-list actors are not opening movies the way they used to -- that includes box-office slumps from everyone from Johnny Depp, to Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy and many more. Is it the stars that are letting us down or the projects studios are putting them in? Who is to blame? Was "Funny People" a Judd Apatow trip up or Adam Sandler's? Are remakes really necessary? What do they offer the audience new except for the latest special effects, look at The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 for example? The original is ten times better and didn't make you dizzy with effects and noise.

Hollywood will use this opportunity now to cut paychecks for stars, especially since DVD sales are down and people are staying away from theaters to explore other forms of entertainment these days. But, let's face it, there is nothing quite like going to the movies. I love it. I love seeing a really great movie with an audience (one that isn't texting or checking their phones every two seconds).

And, what about Meryl Streep? She seems to be picking good roles and successful projects. Her stock is through the roof. She's A-list for sure (in talent and receipts). Maybe stars need to be a little more demanding in the projects they accept -- even Ms. Streep recently said that she feels today's top talent are wasting their uniqueness and gifts on inferior projects.

So let's all share the blame in these bad movies coming out. It's the studios who green light these weak scripts, stars who do them for the paycheck, and moviegoers who don't vote more discriminatory with their money and expectations.

Now it's Friday which means new movies have come out. Should I go or stay home? Hmmm.

Until next time.

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